A propos our discussion of libertarianism, birth control, and women’s autonomy, this, from Benjamin Franklin (A Conversation About Slavery), seems relevant:
You Americans make a great Clamour upon every little imaginary Infringement of what you take to be your Liberties; and yet there are no People upon Earth such Enemies to Liberty, such absolute Tyrants, where you have the Opportunity, as you yourselves are.
It’s hardly unprecedented in the American experience for the greatest cries of liberty to be heard among those who would most deny it to others.
*Freedom Is, Freedom Ain’t is the title of a wonderful book about jazz and the civil rights movement by my friend Scott Saul. It’s got no real connection to the theme of this post; I just liked the title and wanted to plug Scott’s book. And plug Scott, too: he’s currently working on a biography of Richard Pryor, which is going to blow your mind. If you want to get a taste of Scott’s writing, check out this essay he did in Book Forum on the Jonestown tragedy in Guyana in 1979. I’ve read it about ten times; every time, I see something in it I hadn’t seen before.